Knee injury - torn ACL

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Knee injury - torn ACL

Postby tpakrac » Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:45 pm

Not one NBA season goes by without certain player injuring ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). Latest victim is Phoenix Suns rookie Gani Lawal. He has torn ACL in his right knee and will miss the rest of the season.

In April 1998 Hoop magazine ran an interesting story about torn ACL and how today's methods of surgery saves NBA careers. Here is the entire article:

How today's ACL surgery saves NBA careers
Back in the Game
by Chris Ekstrand

They were once the most horrifying three letters in professional basketball. If they were spoken at all, they were usually delivered in the kind of muted, hushed tones one would find at a wake. Everyone in professional basketball knew the dreaded letters, and shuddered every time they were mentioned.
A-C-L almost always spelled the end of a basketball career.

If a player's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), one of two major ligaments in the middle of the knee, was torn, he seldom resumed his career. If he did, it was with very limited mobility. Players like Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham, Detroit Pistons' head coach Doug Colling and Los Angeles Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak had their careers ended or shortened by ACL injuries.
But as in many other sectors of medical science, the last 15 years have brought about many exciting, once-unimaginable advances in ACL surgery, which have made it possible for athletes to have surgery, undergo rehabilitation and resume their careers.
Why? Obviously there have been advances in surgical techniques and rehabilitation programs, but Knicks team physician Dr. Norman Scott said that recent successes of prominent athletes also have made a difference.
"Certainly the [confidence] level of injured is a lot higher in the past five to six years because they know of success stories," said Scott, who is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. "Prior to that, it was a tremendous blow to their psyche, and there was tremendous doubt and tremendous worry. Now, they are pretty confident of the outcome."
In 1985, Scott performed ACL surgery on Bernard King, then the league's leading scorer and an NBA All-Star for the New York Knicks. King's injury was so severe and required such major surgery that it took him two determined years of the most rigorous rehabilitation to come back.
"In Bernard's case, we used an arthrotomy, which is opening the joint to reroute a tendon muscle unit to create new ligament for him," Scott explained. "Just by opening the joint and all the surgery, it took a long time for that healing process to occur. We kept the tendon tissue attached to a muscle, because fixation in that era was not as good as we'd like. Now that we have great fixation, we could put a substitute [tendon] in there that was more of a free substitute. While it was successful, it took a long period of time for all that and the subsequent rehabilitation to take place."
Scott said that while some doctors have used cadaver tissue to reconstruct the ligament, the preferred method in younger patients is to use patella or hamstring tendons from the patient's own body. Since only a portion of the tendon is needed, the body then fills in the missing material. In older patients, Scott said, doctors will consider using cadaver tissue, which necessitates less healing time.
Dr. Stephen Lombardo, the Los Angeles Lakers team physician, said the King recovery was a landmark event. King not only came back, but he regained his All-Star form in 1991, unlike his predecessors afflicted with the injury.
"Bernard King was the first really high-profile basketball player who returned to play, and play effectively," said Lombardo, a member of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic. "After that surgery, we started to do substitute operations for the ACL, using any number of tendons about the knee that had good healing capability that substituted for the ligament that was torn."
Lombardo performed ACL surgery twice on the Suns' Danny Manning, who Suns Coach Danny Ainge described as "our most consistent and, probably, our best player."
"The problem with the ACL is that once it gets torn, it really doesn't have good healing capability," Lombardo explained. "You can sew it back together, but the healing rate is very low. The operation that was rediscovered was using a tendon to substitute for the ligament, and the most popular was the patella tendon. It could be fixed in a satisfactory position on both sides into bone. Over time, it would heal to a comparable strength level to what was there, and thus give the patient stability."
Current NBA players who have returned from ACL surgery and resume successful careers include Ron Harper of the Chicago Bulls, Mark Price of the Orlando Magic, Sean Elliott of the San Antonio Spurs, Terry Cummings of the Philadelphia 76ers, Tim Hardaway of the Miami Heat and Keith Jennings, who is playing this season in France. Retired players who were able to resume playing include Walter Davis, Eddie Lee Wilkins, and Doc Rivers.
"I guess when it really hit me how far we had come was when I was watching a San Antonio playoff game a few years ago," Lombardo recounted. "Four San Antonio players who played in that game - Doc Rivers, Terry Cummings, Jack Haley and Sean Elliott - had undergone ACL surgery at some time during their careers. Looking back 15 years ago, [comebacks] didn't exist, and now there were four guys on one team who had gone through this ans were back playing."
Dr. Scott explained that the ACL is much more prone to injury than the PCL [posterior cruciate ligament] because the PCL is a much stronger ligament. It is the strongest of the ligaments in the knee. He said that ACL injuries are not limited to basketball, and that athletes in skiing, volleyball and football are also frequently the victims of an ACL tear.
"It's a combination of rotation and forces," Scott said. "You don't need what appears to be that much of a force. When you look at the numbers, when you run and jump, the forces that go through the knee can be anywhere from six to nine times the athlete's body weight. So all of a sudden, with that much force and a missed step or a missed rotation, it's enough to over-stress the ligament."
Lombardo said advances in rehabilitation have been just as significant in the recovery of the athletes as the surgery itself. He recognized Dr. Don Shelbourne of Indianapolis, a respected orthopedic surgeon, as one of the pioneers in the way ACL rehabilitation is structured today.
"Shelbourne encouraged patients to start early motion of the knee soon after surgery so people would not get stiff knees," Lombardo said. "There was a much higher incidence 15 years ago of stiff knees after the surgery. There was an inclination to keep people in a cast and let it heal. We learned over time that people did better if you let them start moving early. That was a major contribution that he made."
There is currently a lot of discussion among specialists in the field about studies that indicate female athletes are more prone to suffer ACL injuries than males, although not enough verifiable data is available to know why this is the case.
"Some people try to relate that to the anatomy of the knee, that smaller people have smaller canals that the ligament goes through, so it's more at risk," Lombardo said. "Some people think it's more related to the difference in hormones. It hasn't been nailed down yet. It is being looked at and studied."
Advances in equipment and rehabilitation techniques continue to make ACL surgery less and less radical, the rehabilitation time shorter, and the amount of dexterity the player has upon returning greater than ever before.
"Seven or eight years ago we told patients 12 months [before they could return to the playing field]," Lombardo said. "Now we are telling them six months. Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers came back in three-and-a-half months. He got injured after coming back, but the injury was to his kneecap, not the ligament. So some people are getting back quicker than six months. It's a combination of improved surgical procedure, better technology and more sophisticated rehabilitation techniques that are allowing us to have better results now."

Also was in the article:
The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the four major ligaments found in the knee.
* ACL - Anterior Cruciate Ligament. One of two major ligaments, or strong bands of tissue, which cross each other in the front of the knee. The anterior cruciate [or crossed] ligament is the ligament in the front.
* PCL - Posterior Cruciate Ligament. The other of the two major ligaments that cross in front of the knee. The posterior cruciate ligament is found behind the anterior cruciate ligament.
* MCL - Medial Collateral Ligament. A ligament on the inner facing side of the knee that prevents the knee from moving side to side.
* LCL - Lateral Collateral Ligament. A ligament on the outer facing side of the knee that prevents the knee from bending into a "bow-leg" type of bend.

The knee is the largest joint in the body, and one of the most easily injured. It is made up of the lower end of the thigh bone [femur], which rotates on the upper end of the shin bone [tibia], and the knee cap [patella] which slides in a groove on the end of the femur.
The knee also contains large ligaments that help control motion by connecting bones and bracing the joint against abnormal types of motion. Other parts of the knee, like cartilage, serve to cushion the knee or help it absorb shock during motion.
Source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

At the end of article it says: Chris Ekstrand is a staff writer for Hoop. An avid amateur hoopster, he feels lucky to still have healthy knees.
Last edited by tpakrac on Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tpakrac » Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:46 pm

Sports Illustrated
April 29, 1991
One False Move
That's all it takes for a player to suffer the NBA's most feared injury—a torn anterior cruciate ligament
Richard Demak

On one side of the Los Angeles clippers' locker room, Danny Manning picks up a blue-and-black neoprene kneepad and tosses it to his teammate Ron Harper. Harper snatches it out of the air. He daintily points his right foot toward the floor and starts to slide the rubbery sleeve up to his knee. "That's inside out," Manning says, scolding Harper like a big brother.
"I know how it goes," Harper snaps back, easing the kneepad into place. Harper knows how it goes. It has been 15 months since his career ended and three months since it started again. Manning knows how it goes, too. It has been two years and four months since his career ended and 17 months since it started again.
This kneepad, which looks like a toeless sock from a wet suit, is worn by players who have torn their anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) and returned to the NBA. The kneepad and the metal brace worn with it have become the emblems of membership for the league's ACL union.
Over the last three seasons the membership has multiplied with elite players: Manning went down on Jan. 4, 1989; the Milwaukee Bucks' Larry Krystkowiak, on May 14, 1989; the Seattle SuperSonics' Dave Corzine, on Nov. 8, 1989; Harper, on Jan. 16, 1990; the Philadelphia 76ers' Johnny Dawkins, on Nov. 8,1990 (box, page 56); the Dallas Mavericks' Roy Tarpley, on Nov. 9, 1990; the Cleveland Cavaliers' Mark Price, on Nov. 30, 1990. Before 1988 the membership roll included Toby Knight (Sept. 23, 1980), Campy Russell (Aug. 13, 1982) and Eddie Lee Wilkins (Aug. 2, 1985), all of whom played for the New York Knicks; Bernard King (March 23, 1985), who was also with the Knicks when he got hurt and is now starring for the Washington Bullets; and Mitch Kupchak (Dec. 19, 1981), who played for the Los Angeles Lakers. "It's like some fraternity now—the ACL frat," says Krystkowiak. "But it's not the kind of club anyone wants to be a member of."
The club has grown so renowned around the league that players who wouldn't know their cerebral cortex from a pick-and-roll have become fluent in the pronunciation of "anterior cruciate ligament" and experts about its function. A tear of the ACL has become the most feared injury in the sport. "The hardest thing is the mind," says Clipper trainer Keith Jones, who has worked with Manning and Harper. "They hear they tore their ACL; they know what that means. They think [their careers are] over. You can tell them success stories like Bernard's, but it doesn't mean anything to them. They think they're done."
The ACL ruptures suddenly—the injury is not the result of years of getting banged under the boards. In a fraction of a second this 1½-inch-long ribbon of tissue, upon which a player's career hinges, can be ripped apart. Corzine, who was playing center for the Orlando Magic—an expansion team in its first season in the league-when he tore the ACL in his left knee, says, "I remember that I took a pass at the top of the key about five minutes into the game. Then I took a couple of dribbles down the lane and went to plant. It was the exact same thing I'd done hundreds of thousands of times before."
That one move in a hundred thousand cost Corzine, like other ACL club members, at least a year of his basketball life. While recovering, players work out alone every day as their teams make do without them and talented rookies come into the league. "The nightmare is that all of a sudden you're not part of it anymore," Krystkowiak says.
Until about 20 years ago a knee injury often ended an athlete's career. Even if he or she did come back, the player was rarely the same. The cliché is that the knee was not designed for sports. But for 2½ million years it worked fine; it has only been in the past 100 or so, since athletes started colliding—often quite violently—at high speeds on the football field, that we have noticed it could be improved.
The reason the knee can twist and flex is that the strongest thing connecting the femur (the thighbone) to the tibia (the shinbone) is a series of ligaments. The ACL is one of two ligaments (the other is the posterior cruciate ligament) that cross between the femur and the tibia, preventing the two bones from slipping forward or backward out of joint.
When the tibia juts too far forward, the ACL can rip. Except in the case of Price—who tore his ACL when he collided with a courtside sign—all of the ACL injuries in the NBA during the last few years have occurred when a player pushed off or planted his foot. "It happens when you want to jump with maximum force and speed," says Krystkowiak.
Given how often a basketball player puts himself into a position that strains his ACL, one would think that ACL injuries have always occurred in the NBA, and of course they have. But Elgin Baylor, who played in the NBA for 14 years for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers and is now the general manager of the ACL-injury-plagued Clippers, says, "We never heard of it when I was playing. Torn cartilage, yes, but never this ACL."
Players, however, did suffer ACL injuries before 1980. We just didn't hear much about them because the injury usually ended the players' careers. Neither Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham, who ruptured his ACL in December 1975, nor Doug Collins, the four-time All-Star with the 76ers, who tore his in March 1980, returned successfully from those injuries. Who knows how many cases of "bad knees" or "severe knee sprains" were really ACL injuries? When a player "blew out" his knee, team officials were more concerned with if and when he might return to action than with which ligament he had shredded.
Nobody knows if NBA players suffer more ACL injuries today than five, 10 or 20 years ago. According to John Robinson, director of sports research at Nike, "There are a lot of questions. And we're not attacking them in a very scientific manner."
Stephen Lombardo, who is a team doctor for the Lakers, says, "I'm not sure that there are more. There are a lot of apparent epidemics: We had three broken fingers on the Lakers in one year, three hand injuries on the [L.A.] Kings, seven knee-ligament injuries on the Rams. It may only look like there's a rash of ACL injuries."
Not until he was hurt did Corzine notice that ACLs were being ruptured all around the league. While doctors may not agree, players, coaches and general managers are convinced that more NBA players are tearing their ACLs than in the past. They offer the following theories to account for the injuries:
•Shoes are too good. The most common fracture in skiing used to be the boot-top break, so called because the tibia would snap just above the top of the ski boot when a skier fell. Now, however, ski boots come up higher on the leg; it's as if skiers wear casts from the toes to the middle of the shin. Some doctors have said the higher boots put more pressure on the knee ligaments, and that in turn has increased the incidence of ACL ruptures on the slopes.
So what does skiing have to do with professional basketball players? Almost everyone in the NBA now wears hightops. If high ski boots put more pressure on the ACL than low boots, then maybe hightop sneakers put more pressure on the ACL than low-cut sneakers—even though hightop sneakers don't come as high on the leg as ski boots. NBA players have taped their ankles for decades, and some players say that, too, increases pressure on the knee. But tape loosens up during a game; hightop sneakers don't. Says one general manager, "It must be the shoes. Everything else is the same. Maybe they're not giving enough?"
•Players are bigger, stronger and faster. Although ACL injuries are not caused by behemoths' bounding into one another, big, strong, fast players do exert more force on their knee ligaments than small, weak, slow ones do on theirs.
•The season is too long. With the combination of the interminable regular-season NBA schedule, the playoffs and summer leagues, some players are on the court year-round. Krystkowiak was hurt during a Sunday playoff game. "I was so tired by then that I didn't have enough energy to work out the Saturday before the game," he says. "I wonder to this day if I had gone into the weight room on Saturday to use the leg-lift machine, whether that little bit would have been enough to protect me from what happened."
For such a devastating injury, an ACL tear sometimes seems less than serious initially. Harper, who tore not only his ACL but cartilage as well, asked to return to the game a few minutes after he got hurt. The team doctor said no. Manning thought that he had simply hyperextend-ed his knee. "It wasn't that bad," he says. "It was an 'Oh, hell' feeling. You never think it's something all that serious. You never think you have an injury of that magnitude."
Because players often have to wait a day before an arthroscopy or MRI can be performed and a diagnosis confirmed, they have some time to hope for the best. No player imagines the worst. "My first reaction when they told me what it was, was shock," says Price. "I thought, This is the worst thing you can have."
After a player hears the worst, he's left with two questions: Can the ACL be fixed? and, Will I ever be the same player again? The answers are usually yes and no, respectively.
Most of the body's ligaments can be sewn together after they've been torn. Tears in the collateral ligaments, which run along the sides of the knee, can be repaired this way. The ACL, however, is wedged between the tibia and the femur, within the joint, where it's bathed in a lubricant called synovial fluid. If an ACL were sutured together, some doctors believe the synovial fluid would prevent it from healing. Also because of its confined position, a stitched-together ACL would never fully regain its blood supply.
Thus, because the surgeons can't sew the ACL back together, they must find something to replace it—usually a strip of tissue from somewhere else in the body. In King's case, Dr. Norman Scott, the Knicks' team physician, used a stretch of the tough sheath that runs from the hip to the tibia along the outside of the thigh muscles. Although it was astonishingly successful for King, that technique isn't used very often anymore.
Besides Dawkins, whose knee was repaired using a technique similar to the one used on King, virtually every NBA player who has had an ACL reconstruction in the last three years has had a patellar-tendon graft. The patellar tendon connects the kneecap (the patella) to the tibia below. (Another tendon connects the patella to a thigh muscle above.) Through a 3-inch incision in the knee, the surgeon removes a band—about 3½ inches long and⅜ of an inch wide—from the patellar tendon. Then, while peering through an arthroscope, he places the tendon between the tibia and the femur and screws it into place, replacing the ACL. Says Lombardo, who performed a patellar-tendon graft on Manning and Krystkowiak, "What we put in there is similar to the ACL, but it's not exactly the same. It simulates, but it doesn't duplicate."
In time, one study has found, the body mysteriously transforms the tissue of the grafted tendon into ligamentlike cells. And in another example of anatomical wonder, until blood supply returns to the area, the synovial fluid that normally retards healing nourishes the graft.
When performed on young people-most of the members of the ACL club fit into this category—the patellar-graft procedure is successful more than 90% of the time. Its most common side effect is patellar tendinitis, or "jumper's knee." Because the patellar tendon that remains in its original place after the surgery is only three quarters of its normal width, it sometimes becomes irritated. So the drawback of the patellar-graft procedure is that it may leave players with two injuries to recover from—one suffered on the basketball floor, the other on the operating table.
Doctors have tried many other ACL-reconstruction techniques. In one the damaged ACL is replaced by a ligament or tendon from a cadaver. The risks are that the body will reject the foreign tissue or that the transplant could transmit an infection from the dead donor to the living recipient.
In another procedure, artificial ligaments made of Gore-Tex have been implanted. But they loosen up a few years after surgery or, worse, they break, as often happens with pro athletes. Says Lombardo, "There was a rash of enthusiasm for these techniques. But the best tissue is your own."
A damaged ACL doesn't have to be fixed—players are now competing successfully in the NBA with damaged ACLs. Anthony Daly, the Clippers' team physician, says, "You can lead a normal life without an ACL, but you can't play a cutting sport like basketball." San Antonio Spur forward Sean Elliott tore part of his ACL when he was only 14. Surgical reconstruction wasn't done at the time because it would have interfered with the growth of the bones in his knee. He still has more play in his knee than normal, but why correct that and take away a year of his promising career when he performs as well as he does?
Krystkowiak tried to play on a damaged ACL. After he chipped cartilage and ripped both his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments during the '89 playoffs, surgeons fixed the cartilage and the collateral ligament. They didn't repair the ACL, however, because recovery from collateral ligament repair usually requires the knee to be immobile for four weeks; rehabilitation from ACL surgery requires constant movement of the knee as soon as possible. Krystkowiak tried to come back without ACL reconstruction. He played 16 games for Milwaukee toward the end of last season. "I thought I was back, but little things kept coming up," he says. "Then in the summer league [in Los Angeles] I knew something was wrong. I went to test the knee. I flunked the test. It kept popping and grinding."
Because he didn't have a sound ACL, Krystkowiak's tibia and femur were slipping out of place, mashing his cartilage to bits. On Aug. 28 he underwent a second operation, this one to reconstruct his ACL. Says Krystkowiak, "I didn't know what I was missing. Now I have an ACL and my knee feels much more stable." (Not incidentally, when Krystkowiak, 26, decided to have the ACL repaired, he had three years left on a four-year guaranteed contract and could thus afford to take another year off for rehabilitation.)
ACL rehabilitation starts immediately after surgery. A player wakes up after the patellar-tendon procedure in an anesthetized stupor, with his knee buckled into a bracelike contraption that flexes and extends his knee once a minute. The motion prevents the surgically weakened tendon from sticking to the tibia as it heals. After three to six weeks the player can pedal a stationary bicycle. A few months after that he can jog on a treadmill and start shooting set shots.
"When they start shooting, they think they're back," says Jones. "That's when they get lazy. You have to get on them. You have to call them names. You tell them you've had it, that you're leaving. Eventually they give in and say, 'O.K., I'll do the exercises.' "
Says Price, "My physical therapist told me that the main thing is that you're the one who has to do the rehabilitation. You're the only one who can get you back."
The most frustrating thing about the rehabilitation process is that for nearly a year, the knee seems to feel no better one day than it did the day before. The recovery is long and the progress is subtle because the graft and the muscles in the leg don't regain their strength for several months. Says Manning, "Sometimes I think it would be best if you could be hypnotized for a year."
One Thursday in December, Clive Brewster, Krystkowiak's physical therapist, promoted him to that thrilling stage of rehabilitation in which he would be allowed to grunt, groan and sweat aboard a hamstring-quadriceps machine. "It was like I had climbed a mountain," says Krystkowiak. "It's great to be able to get tired again."
Brewster, the director of physical therapy at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, says, "You have to give them little victories. Larry was heading for the dumps, so we put him on the machine and his whole spirit changed."
It's during the lonely year of rehab that membership in the ACL club pays off. "I've called other players just to let them know that it's something they can overcome," says King. "I talked to Larry Krystkowiak when [the Bullets] were in Milwaukee earlier in the season. He indicated that it's given him a lot of confidence just watching me, during those moments when it might be tough for him." In 1989 King called Manning to "let Danny know that it could be done." Manning, in turn, advised Harper. "I told him to be patient," says Manning. "I didn't know what he was going through, but I had a good idea."
If the ACL club had a slogan, it would be, Stop asking me that question. Other players recovering from ACL are the only ones who don't ask, "When are you coming back?" and "How's the knee?" A few weeks before he returned to the lineup, Harper said, "I want to get a shirt that Says WHEN I COME BACK, YOU'LL BE THE FIRST TO KNOW."
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Postby tpakrac » Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:47 pm

Friday, March 30, 2007 · Last updated 12:04 a.m. PT
Inside The Nba: ACL tear takes own sweet time
By GARY WASHBURN, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
HE MANEUVERED his chiseled, 248-pound body down the lane, took a pass from Allen Iverson and threw down a vicious dunk on Nick Collison to give Denver a slim lead Wednesday night. Nene Hilario -- or Nene as he is referred to by public address announcer Kyle Speller in a loud baritone voice -- is playing at a career-best level for the Nuggets.
Nene approaches his recent success with humility, mainly because just a few months ago, his right knee would swell up after practices and shoot-arounds, forcing him to sit out games. He missed all but one game last season because of a torn right anterior cruciate ligament, and 17 months after surgery he is just beginning to reach full health.
In November 2005, Nene had his ACL surgery -- 364 days before Sonics center Robert Swift, who has been cleared to run lightly and begin some basketball activities. Swift was at practice last week, shooting free throws with a large brace covering his left knee. He is hoping to return for training camp and be ready for the regular season, but Nene has some advice for his ACL peer.
"All I can say is that he needs to be patient, take your time and don't rush yourself," Nene said before the Nuggets dropped a 100-97 decision to the Sonics.
"You have to trust yourself. A lot of people are going to try to push him, but who knows more about his body and what he is feeling than himself."
Nene has played in just 53 of Denver's 70 games and logged just 12 games in the season's first two months to rest his knee. ACL tears are common in pro football and becoming more common in the NBA. Because of modern surgery and rehabilitation regimens, it is almost assumed these days that players will return 100 percent. But that is a large assumption, especially when you're a large man.
"I've seen players rehab wrong from those injuries and drag their leg the rest of their careers," Sonics coach Bob Hill said.
With a deep Australian accent, Nuggets strength and conditioning coach Steve Hess stresses patience with ACL recovery. Nene gained weight during his inactivity, which put even more pressure on the joints surrounding the knee.
"You have to take into account the size of these guys, I'm telling you it's different," said Hess, who helped Nene work off 20 pounds during the season. "When you are 7-feet, 270 pounds, the force on that joint is a lot different than a guy 5-feet. The specific area is a hot spot for up to two years, and it definitely takes between 12 and 18 months to come back. And you want to take your time because you want to be the best you ever were when you come back."
Swift said he realizes his road to return is going to be arduous. He has to trust the knee again, and then get accustomed to recurring pain caused by sore joints and pounding and then attempt to perform on the court.
Nene streaks the court with ease, and his recent conditioning has led to his improved play. But he still wears a small blue brace on the knee. He still has a scar, and still carries fresh memories of the disabling pain. He runs fast, very fast, but never hurries, not anymore.
"I feel better about it, but it's a lot of process," he said. "After about 15 months, I just started to feel better, like I could play. I play better than my first year and people said, 'he's not going to come back good.' And I am showing that's possible.
"You need to take care of yourself. It's a big deal and you have to take your time."

Bernard King
Perhaps the most unappreciated player in NBA history because of his lack of a title, personal issues and stint with bad teams, King returned from nearly two seasons out of the game to play four more successful seasons, including a 28.4 scoring average for the Washington Bullets in 1990-91. Sonics coach Bob Hill urged the Bullets to sign King after his two-year rehabilitation.
Danny Manning
After his "Danny and Miracles" run with Kansas in 1988, Manning seemed destined for stardom, but he became known more as the first NBA player to return from ACL tears in each knee. In 1995 he tore the right one again. He was never the player many expected because of injuries, but Manning logged 883 games on bad knees and made two All-Star appearances.
Bob Lanier
There was a reason Lanier wore a brace on his knee, and it wasn't to look cool. Lanier was one of the first NBA players to return from an ACL injury and he came back to near top form for Detroit and Milwaukee. Lanier tore his ACL during the NCAA Tournament at St. Bonaventure in 1970 and underwent seven more knee surgeries in his career, but he finished with a 24-point career average.
Ron Harper
A superstar out of Miami of Ohio and early in his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Harper transformed from a speedy, dynamic scorer to a team-first, solid guard/forward for the Bulls when his knees robbed him of his explosion. He played 11 more seasons following ACL surgery.
Jamal Crawford
One for the locals and new schoolers, Crawford appears as nimble and fast as he was before tearing his left ACL prior to his second season with the Bulls. Because of Crawford's quick recovery and several high-scoring games, it's easy for fans to forget he suffered a major knee injury. It's a testament to modern technology.
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Postby tpakrac » Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:47 pm

Spurs’ Blair Is Lacking in Everything but Success
By HOWARD BECK, New York Times
Published: November 12, 2009

The unlikely phenomenon of DeJuan Blair begins with a checklist of everything that should disqualify him as an effective N.B.A. player.
He is a power forward who is listed at 6 feet 7 inches, but is closer to 6-5.
He is a rebounding specialist who barely leaves the ground.
He has no anterior cruciate ligament. In either knee.
The catalog of justifiable doubts is as thick as Blair’s torso. His playful smile only grows wider at every recited item.
“Yeah,” said Blair, the San Antonio Spurs rookie out of Pittsburgh, drawing out the word and punctuating it with a chuckle. “That’s why it’s so amazing. That’s why it’s so fun.”
There might not be anyone quite like Blair in the history of the N.B.A. The league has had its share of undersize rebounders — Elgin Baylor (6-5), Charles Barkley (6-6) and Dennis Rodman (6-7). But they were usually blessed with some combination of athleticism, leaping ability and knee ligaments.
Blair’s shortcomings in those departments caused him to fall to the second round on draft night, all the way to 37th. So far, he looks like the steal of the draft. Through two weeks of play, Blair leads all rookies with 7.3 rebounds a game, in only 18.3 minutes. Adjusted on a per-48-minute basis, he ranks as the N.B.A.’s third-leading rebounder.
“He’s got a great future ahead of him,” said the Spurs veteran Antonio McDyess, an accomplished rebounder himself. “He’s relentless. He plays hard every possession.”
Other top athletes have played without an A.C.L. in one knee, including Sean Elliott, the former Spurs forward, and Hines Ward, the Pittsburgh Steelers receiver. But playing professional sports without two A.C.L.’s might be unprecedented.
There were no mysteries about Blair’s talent when he declared for the draft after two years at Pittsburgh. He averaged 11.6 rebounds as a freshman and reached double digits 41 times in a 72-game career. He had a memorable head-to-head showdown in February with Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet, the 7-3 center who became the No. 2 pick in the draft by Memphis.
Scouts and statistical experts generally agree that rebounding translates well from college to the N.B.A., so Blair was, at first, highly regarded. He was once projected as a late lottery pick. His fate changed, however, at a draft combine last spring, when doctors performed a routine magnetic resonance imaging examination on his knees.
That was when Blair learned he had no A.C.L.’s.
“I was a little shocked,” he said.
Blair had ruptured the ligaments as a high school sophomore, but they were presumably repaired in surgery. The theory now is that the grafts did not take and were absorbed by the body.
Although an A.C.L. helps stabilize the knee, the 20-year-old Blair has probably compensated by building up strength in muscles and other ligaments. He said his knees had never given him trouble since high school.
Still, many N.B.A. executives were spooked by the revelation. There were other concerns, including Blair’s weight (he is listed at 265 pounds) and his height. But his knees “were a big factor in him falling as far as he did,” said an Eastern Conference scout, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing another team’s player.
The scout, whose team considered drafting Blair, praised him as a “dominating force around the basket” who was likely to make teams regret passing on him.
Blair is what is known as a “coper,” meaning he can function normally without an A.C.L., said Dr. James Gladstone, the chief of sports medicine in the department of orthopedic surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Copers comprise about 5 percent of people who tear an A.C.L.
“For the vast majority of people, not having an A.C.L. and playing basketball don’t really go together,” Gladstone said.
The A.C.L. helps prevent over-rotation in the knee and is in constant demand in basketball, which requires sudden stops and starts, pivoting, leaping and cutting. That Blair is playing, and excelling, without two A.C.L.’s “is highly unusual,” Gladstone said.
If the lack of A.C.L.’s were a problem, Blair’s knees would buckle. So far, they have not. Gladstone, who has not examined Blair, theorized that Blair had compensated over time, “so it wouldn’t be a concern to me any longer.”
“That’s not to say tomorrow he won’t go up for a layup, land and his knee buckles on him,” Gladstone said. “But I think the chances of that are highly unlikely.”
He added, “I certainly wouldn’t be in a rush to give him new A.C.L.’s.”
Clearly, some N.B.A. doctors and executives had less confidence, especially with millions of dollars at stake. First-round picks get a two-year guaranteed contract, which made Blair a greater risk in the first 30 selections.
“Very honestly, we decided that it was a no-brainer at 37,” said Gregg Popovich, the Spurs’ coach and team president. “No. 37 in the draft usually isn’t in the league anymore anyway. So if he is healthy and he proves people wrong, you’ve got a hell of a steal. There wasn’t anyone else we were going to pick who was going to help us win a championship.”
The Spurs have the advantage of great frontcourt depth, with the veterans McDyess, Tim Duncan, Matt Bonner and Theo Ratliff. They do not need to lean heavily on Blair.
When they do call on him, the results are quite enjoyable. Blair does not leap high, but he uses his width and strength to gain position. Then he corrals loose balls with large hands that have been compared to catcher’s mitts and a wingspan that is close to seven-and-a-half feet.
“The thing to me that seems most empowering about him is when he gets his hands on the ball, nobody else gets possession,” said R. C. Buford, the Spurs’ general manager.
In his first preseason game, Blair grabbed 19 rebounds in 22 minutes against Houston. Two weeks later, Blair grabbed 10 rebounds and scored 17 points in just 15 minutes against Oklahoma City.
Because of his size, Blair had his shot blocked five times. But he followed two of those blocks with second-effort layups, his relentlessness and his inexperience on simultaneous display.
“That’s a good thing,” Popovich said after the preseason game against Oklahoma City. “He’s got to test that.”
The Spurs are so confident in Blair that they gave him a four-year contract worth as much as $3.8 million (with $2.3 million guaranteed). It is an unusually generous deal for a second-round pick. But then, Blair is an unusual individual.
“I always say I’m blessed,” Blair said cheerfully. “That’s why I take advantage of every day and try and smile. I’m in the N.B.A. and without A.C.L.’s and with the Spurs. Doing my dream. I’m blessed. It’s amazing.”
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Postby tpakrac » Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:47 pm

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Postby tpakrac » Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:50 pm

Thanks to the above mentioned articles I compiled a list of players with ACL injuries. I'm sure this list is not complete. If you find more players with ACL injuries please post it here.

Bob Lanier ??
Walter Davis ??
Billy Cunningham (Philadelphia 76ers) - December 1975
Doug Collins (Philadelphia 76ers) - March 1980
Toby Knight (New York Knicks) - Sept. 23, 1980
Mitch Kupchak (L.A. Lakers) - Dec. 19, 1981
Campy Russell (New York Knicks) - Aug. 13, 1982
Bernand King (New York Knicks) - March 23, 1985
Eddie Lee Wilkins (New York Knicks) - Aug. 2, 1985
Danny Manning – three ACL injuries: injuring his right knee during his rookie year with the L.A. Clippers (January 1989), left knee during a team practice in Phoenix (February 1995), and re-injuring his right knee again two years later, also as a member of Phoenix Suns (April 1998)
Manning will also go down in history as one of the few athletes in sports to have overcome three separate ACL injuries. He was asked: "What techniques did you use to come back from three ACL's?" His answer: "I was blessed with great doctors, medical staff and trainers. It's just a lot of repetition. You want to get your muscles to fire up like they are supposed to fire up. You need a little stubborness to get through it all."
Ron Harper (L.A. Clippers) - Jan. 16, 1990
Johnny Dawkins (Philadelphia 76ers) - Nov. 8, 1990
Roy Tarpley (Dallas Mavericks) - Nov. 9, 1990
Mark Price (Cleveland Cavaliers) - Nov. 30, 1990
Larry Krystkowiak (Milwaukee Bucks) - May 14, 1989
Dave Corzine (Seattle SuperSonics) - Nov. 8, 1989
Jack Haley (L.A. Lakers) - 1992
Terry Cummings (San Antonio Spurs) – July 1992
Sarunas Marciulionis (Golden State Warriors) – September 1993
Tim Hardaway (Golden State Warriors) – October 1993
Doc Rivers (New York Knicks) – December 1993
Tim Legler (Washington Wizards) – 1996
Keith Jennings (Denver Nuggets) – October 1996
Eric Willims (Denver Nuggets) – November 1997
Baron Davis (UCLA, freshman season) - March 1998
Raef LaFrentz (Denver Nuggets) - February 1999
Tom Gugliotta (Phoenix Suns) – March 2000
Bonzi Wells (Portland Trail Blazers) – April 2001
Jamal Crawford (Chicago Bulls) – October 2001, injury suffered playing in pickup games with Michael Jordan
Al Harrington (Indiana Pacers) – January 2002
Jared Jeffries (Washington Wizards) - December 2002
Vitaly Potapenko (Boston Celtics) – April 2002
Steven Hunter (Orlando Magic) – October 2002
Pat Garrity (Orlando Magic) – 2003
Ben Handlogten (Utah Jazz) - December 2003
Willie Green (Philadelphia 76ers) – August 2005
Nene (Denver Nuggets) – November 2005
Robert Swift (Seattle Sonics) – October 2006
Nenad Krstic (New Jersey Nets) – December 2006
Shaun Livingston (L.A. Clippers) - February 2007, he tore three of the four major ligaments in his knee on a breakaway drive in the first quarter against the Charlotte Bobcats
Adam Morrison (Charlotte Bobcats) – October 2007
Jason Smith (Philadelphia 76ers) - August 2008
Al Jefferson (Minnesota Timberwolves) – February 2009
Leon Powe (Boston Celtics) – April 2009, also tore ACL in college
Michael Redd (Milwaukee Bucks) – January 2010
Josh Howard (Washington Wizards) – February 2010
Kendrick Perkins (Boston Celtics) – June 2010
Jeff Pendergraph (Portland Trail Blazers) – October 2010
Gani Lawal (Phoenix Suns) – January 2011

"Sean Elliott tore part of his ACL when he was only 14. Surgical reconstruction wasn't done at the time because it would have interfered with the growth of the bones in his knee."

DeJuan Blair: "He was once projected as a late lottery pick. His fate changed, however, at a draft combine last spring, when doctors performed a routine magnetic resonance imaging examination on his knees. That was when Blair learned he had no A.C.L.’s. “I was a little shocked,” he said. Blair had ruptured the ligaments as a high school sophomore, but they were presumably repaired in surgery. The theory now is that the grafts did not take and were absorbed by the body."
Last edited by tpakrac on Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Robert Bradley » Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:17 pm

I would have to say Shaun Livingston's injury was one of the most gruesome sports injuries that I've seen along with Tim Krumrie's broken leg in the Super Bowl, Joe Theisman's Broken Leg and Napoleon McCallum's knee injury.

Easily the worst basketball injury (to view) that I can think of.
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Postby tpakrac » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:00 am

Robert, Livingston's injury is the most gruesome basketball injury that I've seen. However, there was one worse injury but I didn't see it.

One year ago a question was asked on Yahoo answers. The question was: "Where can i see how injured Boban Jankovic?(video)?"
The formulation of question is a little incomplete but you get the point. Others answers on Yahoo about the issue:

"In 1992, former Red Star Belgrade star Boban Jankovic’s career was tragically ended when he lost his cool in a Greek League playoff game between Panionios and Panathinaikos. When the referee wiped out a Jankovic basket and instead called him for an offensive foul, Jankovic slammed his head hard against the goal post, causing permanent damage to his spinal cord. He spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair before his premature death in 2006 at the age of 42."

And another answer:

"People normally don't upload such tragic videos online. I don't think this video exists online."

Eight years ago another basketball forum published this:

"Yesterday evening the Italian National TV has remembered the absurd tragedy of Boban Jankovic, the unlucky player who payed a moment of anger with a perpetual tetraplegia.

28th April 1993, Nea Smirne, Panionios - Panathinaikos, Greek league semifinals: Jankovic scores, but he's charged with an offensive foul. He doesn't agree, and with unheard violence beats voluntarily his head against the structure of the basket. He falls down, he loses blood from his mouth.
Everyone understands that a tragedy has happened, he said to the doctor of Panionios "I can't feel my hands".

He will spend the rest of his life on a wheelchair... for what? A moment of anger, a moment in which this person lost his head. It happens, how many time everyone of us has punched a table or a wall, has expressed his anger and dissappointment with "violence".
Boban Jankovic had his body and life cut in this fraction of second. Now, after ten years, I still can't find an explication to this fact. At this time, I was shocked. I'm shocked now too.
Last year I went to watch Panioinos Nea Smirne - Turk Telekom Ankara (3/5/2002), Saporta Cup. His former team decided to give him an "award", and I'll never forget this evening.
This little arena was full, and when Boban Jankovic has been announced by the official speaker, an incredible standing ovation started. This dured five or ten minutes, while people kept on acclaim his name, "Boban! Boban!". Many were crying, and I can understand them: the emotion and the intensity of these moments were incredibile, it's impossible to describe what was happening during these minutes.

Yesterday, during this TV emission, two senteces have been told. The first one came from the mouth of the doctor of the team: "I would have prefered that Jankovic would have died this day". The second one, has been told by Boban Jankovic: it will be very hard to forget these words. Maybe it's right that these words can't be forgotten: "the worst thing is when you go to sleep, knowing that tomorrow you'll get up... no, you'll wake up with the same pain".

Good luck, Boban."
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Postby wojoaderge » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:05 am

Michael Brooks
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Postby Robert Bradley » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:55 am

Walter Davis suffered a full tear of the posterior cruciate ligament, and partial tears of the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament on 9Oct84 when he slipped on a wet playing surface at the Forum on 9Oct86 during a preseason game.
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Postby tpakrac » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:21 am

One player I missed:
March 2008 - Mickael Gelabale (Seattle Sonics)

I also compiled a list of WNBA players with ACL injuries:
Croatian guard Korie Hlede (Detroit Shock) - 1998
Rebecca Lobo (New York Liberty) – June 1999, New York Daily News, December 2008: "She averaged 12 points in her first two seasons, but Lobo suffered a setback in 1999, tearing her left ACL in the first game of the season. She wasn't the same after the injury (she reinjured the ACL in the middle of her first rehabilitation in December and was forced to have another surgery), never scoring more than 2.4 points in three seasons split between New York, Houston and Connecticut. "It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be," Lobo says. "It was unbelievably frustrating.""
Tamika Catchings - drafted by the Indiana Fever in 2001 despite the fact that she was rehabbing her torn ACL she injured in college
Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets) – April 2001
DeLisha Milton-Jones (Los Angeles Sparks) – July 2004
Lindsey Harding (Minnesota Lynx) - first overall pick in the 2007 WNBA draft tore ACL in July 2007
Karl Malone's daughter Cheryl Ford (Detroit Shock) – July 2008
Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx) – June 2009
Katie Smith – two ACL injuries
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Postby rlee » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:33 am

Tony Allen
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Postby Bob Kuska » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:50 pm

Interesting thread. I interviewed an NBA player from the 1960s and 1970s a while back who now runs a basketball academy. He told me that in his day, basketball players never tore their ACLs. Their problem was always ankle sprains. His explanation was today's high-tech shoes distribute more pressure onto the knees and make the ACLs vulnerable. The old Converse high tops didn't. True, players went down with knee injuries in the 1960s and 1970s. But the trouble usually arose from the nightly pounding of playing on hard floors, ie, the first serious knee injury that befell Elgin Baylor.

Whether this is true or not, I have no idea. But I thought it was an interesting take on the ACL problem.
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Postby Mike Goodman » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:26 pm

Kareem never wore ankle supporting shoes for just this reason. He said you can generally recover from an ankle injury, and he'd prefer not to have that stress transferred to the knee.

Ideally, everyone would play barefoot. If you're the only barefoot guy on the court, it hurts to have your toes stepped on.

Of course, everyone would have to be in 'barefoot shape', and not everyone is willing to maintain that lifestyle.
36% of all statistics are wrong
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Postby rlee » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:36 pm

Derek Smith (85-86 season)
Alex Garcia Hornets 2004
DJ Mbenga Dallas 2006-7 season
Corey Brewer Minnesota Dec 2008
Jay Williams Bulls June 2003 motorcycle accident
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Postby Robert Bradley » Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:29 pm

i believe derek smith was torn knee cartilage rather than an ACL injury. it may have been both though.
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Postby rlee » Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:55 pm

Re: D Smith - reports vary, quite a few say both cartilage & ligament
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Postby Robert Bradley » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:38 pm

close enough for me!
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Postby tpakrac » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:39 pm

Interesting fact: both Price and Rush brothers tore their ACLs

Haywoode Workman (Indiana Pacers) – November 1996, he is now active NBA referee
Derek Anderson (senior season at Kentucky) – 1997, despite missing nearly all of the second half of his senior season at Kentucky due to a torn ACL, Derek Anderson was selected on the first round of the 1997 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the 13th player chosen overall. Anderson suffered the torn ACL in his right knee January 18, 1997 in a home game against Auburn. Anderson led Kentucky in scoring, three-point shooting, free throws attempted and steals and was second in assists before tearing a second ACL in three years (he blew out his left knee before transferring from Ohio State).
Brent Price (Houston Rockets) – February 1997
Popeye Jones (Toronto Raptors) – November 1997
Jerome James (Sacramento Kings) – July 1999
Speedy Claxton (Philadelphia 76ers) – October 2000
Raul Lopez (Utah Jazz) – August 2002. In September 2002, he signed his NBA rookie contract with the Utah Jazz and underwent surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, missing the entire 2002-03 NBA season
Marcus Fizer (Chicago Bulls) – January 2003
Obinna Ekezie (Atlanta Hawks) – October 2003
Tony Allen (Boston Celtics) – January 2007
Brandon Rush (University of Kansas, sophomore season) – May 2007. Rush injured his ACL during a pickup game Thursday and then withdrew from the NBA draft. Kansas played on the NCAA Final Four in 2008, and before semifinal game Senior Writer Dennis Dodd wrote an article called "Rush's ACL injury 'a blessing in disguise'." First two sentences in the article are quite mind boggling: "It was the luckiest anterior cruciate ligament tear in history. Lucky, if you consider that neither Brandon Rush nor Kansas would be here if Rush hadn't shredded his right ACL last spring."
A.J. Price (Connecticut, junior season) – March 2008
Kareem Rush (L.A. Clippers) – November 2009

Houston Rockets point guard Kyle Lowry tore his ACL headed into his freshman season at Villanova, but made a near-miraculous midseason return. Lowry returned quickly from an ACL tear before his freshman season, sparking Villanova to a nice run in the NCAA Tournament.
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Postby tpakrac » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:45 pm

Cautionary tale:

Sports Illustrated, Marty Burns
Something to prove
Cisse looks to turn back clock on injuries, poor decisions and reach NBA
Posted: Tuesday July 27, 2004 3:29PM; Updated: Tuesday July 27, 2004 4:39PM

It's NBA summer league time, which means lots of stories about players trying to keep their NBA dreams alive. In other words, lots of stories about guys like Ousmane Cisse.
If that melodic name rings a bell, it should. At one time Cisse (pronounced see-say) was a hot prospect in NBA circles, a Parade All-American. Now, he's more well-known for being a poster child -- along with Korleone Young and Leon Smith -- for the NBA's stay-in-school program. Cisse is trying to shed that latter label. He recently played with the Golden State Warriors in this year's L.A. Summer League, and while he didn't land a spot on the team's training camp roster, he is hopeful he opened enough eyes to get a chance somewhere next fall. "I'm just looking for an opportunity," says Cisse.
For those who don't remember the details, Cisse's story is borderline tragic. As a senior at St. Jude High in Montgomery, Ala., the 6-foot-9, 250-pound man-child averaged 29 points, 16 rebounds and 12 blocked shots per game. He was considered one of the best big men in the country -- along with the likes of Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry -- and was recruited by Duke, Louisville, North Carolina and Cincinnati, among others. But in a game midway through his senior year he went up for an alley-oop and landed awkwardly on his left knee. The diagnosis: torn ACL. Cisse tried to come back that season, but it was clear he wasn't the same player.
At this point, Cisse's tale took the tragic turn from which he is still trying to recover.
Instead of putting his NBA dreams on hold and going to college, where he could rehabilitate his knee and further his education, he listened to the advice of his (now former) agent and declared for the 2001 draft. With raw skills and a bum knee, he was quickly exposed in NBA workouts. His stock plummeted. The Nuggets took a flier on him in the second round (No. 47 overall), but released him in training camp.
The son of educated parents from Mali, Africa, he didn't need the money an NBA roster spot promised. Now 21, Cisse says he should have known that he wasn't going to make it with a bad knee and that the NBA wasn't going to wait around for him. "It was not a good choice," he says. "If I'd gone to college, they would have had time to work with me, make my leg strong and after one or two years I'd have been ready to go to next level."
Now Cisse must chase his NBA dreams the hard way. Since washing out in Denver, he has slowly worked his knee back into playing shape while earning paychecks in Russia and the USBL. Last year he landed a spot on the Magic's summer league team. "He's as close as they get physically, and does a great job," former Magic GM John Gabriel says. "He just has to learn to put it together on a consistent basis."
Cisse's sculpted NBA body, his 7-4 wingspan and his work ethic were enough to convince the Warriors to give him another shot this year. Cisse demonstrated he still has ability, averaging 7.2 points and 5.0 rebounds, but showed he still needs work. "He's a physical specimen, but he's still raw in terms of knowing how to play the game," Warriors assistant GM Rod Higgins said. "He needs coaching."
Former NBA star Kermit Washington -- who has been working out with Cisse in the D.C. area this summer -- thinks Cisse still has a chance to catch on with the NBA. Washington compares him to Ben Wallace, in terms of his body and work ethic. "This kid is a phenomenal athlete, he's the hardest-working kid I've ever seen and he's a sponge when it comes to learning," Washington says. ""He blocks shots like he's got a racket in his hands. All he needs is a chance."
Cisse says he just wants to prove to NBA observers and personnel people that he's healthy -- and capable. The knee is now 100 percent, he says, adding that he's improved his offensive game around the basket. But physical ability isn't enough, and Cisse knows it. He longs for the day when he won't hear Dick Vitale and others mention his name in the same sentence with preps-to-pros busts Young and Smith. "I was one of top players coming out of high school," Cisse says. "I was up there with Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, all those guys. What happened was I got hurt. I wasn't healthy. I couldn't compete like I used to. Now, I'm 100 percent. My knee is strong. I'm a different player. I know I can make it. All I need is an opportunity."
The NBA summer league might be full of similar stories, but few more filled with pathos than Cisse's. Only time will tell if he can write a happy ending.
Marty Burns covers pro basketball for

Also by Marty Burns, Sports Illustrated, Posted: Wednesday August 25, 2004
"Bauman offers the story of another of his clients, Jazz guard Raul Lopez, as a cautionary tale. The Spanish playmaker was drafted by Utah in '01 and was set to sign with the Jazz in the summer of '02. He had even just made a $1.6 million buyout to his club in Real Madrid. But while playing in an exhibition game for Spain's national team that summer, he tore his ACL for the second time in a year. With his Jazz deal not yet signed, he could have found himself in dire financial straits. Fortunately for Lopez, Utah signed him anyway and he was able to rehab the knee and eventually had a successful rookie season last year. When Spain came calling for Lopez this season, Bauman wasn't about to take any chances. "I told him, 'Your career is more important than playing in the Olympics.' I said, 'If you play, I'm prepared to resign as your agent.'" Lopez chose not to play for Spain this time around."
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Postby tpakrac » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:46 pm

Robert Bradley wrote:close enough for me!

So should he be on the list or not?
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Postby tpakrac » Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:36 pm

I don't know when Bob Lanier tore his ACL, but he was an All-Star after the injury. He has a total of 7 All-Star selections with Detroit Pistons (1972-1975, 1977, 1978, 1979), and one with Milwaukee Bucks (1982).
Other NBA All-Stars after ACL surgery:
Bernard King – Washington Bullets (1991). Other All-Star selections before injury: 1982 with Golden State Warriors; 1984, 1985 with New York Knicks
Mark Price – 3 All-Star selections with Cleveland Cavaliers (1992, 1993, 1994); and one before injury (1989), also with Cleveland
Danny Manning – 2 All-Star selections with L.A. Clippers (1993, 1994)
Tim Hardaway – 2 All-Star selections with Miami Heat (1997, 1998); three before injury with Golden State Warriors (1991, 1992, 1993)
Baron Davis – 2 All-Star selections with New Orleans Hornets (2002, 2004)
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Postby tpakrac » Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:53 pm

Brent Price had two ACL injuries. bio:

Price missed the entire 1994-95 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee...Washington waived him on April 19.

Price was expected to step in as Houston's regular point guard after he joined the Rockets as a veteran free agent, but a broken left humerus suffered in a preseason game on Oct. 24 ruined those plans. He did not make his debut until Dec. 28, and just when he seemed to be playing his way back into top form he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 25. He was placed on the injured list on March 3, underwent surgery on March 15 and sat out the remainder of the regular season and postseason...
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Postby meej » Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:59 pm

Raul Lopez tore the ACL in his right knee in November 2001. On 17 August 2002 the repaired ACL broke again during a friendly game with the national team.

Later on, while in Utah, he had artroscopic surgery on the same knee in 2004 so he missed the start of the season. Then on 15 February 2005 he injured the "good" left knee in a game vs the Lakers and had to undergo artroscopic surgery on that left knee.

Finally, in November 2008 he injured the meniscus in his right knee and required further surgery.
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Postby Robert Bradley » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:24 am

tpakrac wrote:I don't know when Bob Lanier tore his ACL, but he was an All-Star after the injury. He has a total of 7 All-Star selections with Detroit Pistons (1972-1975, 1977, 1978, 1979), and one with Milwaukee Bucks (1982).

Lanier suffered his ACL injury in the 1970 regional finals against Villanova while playing at St. Bonaventure. He still had the cast on his leg when he signed his rookie contract with Detroit after being the first pick overall in the NBA Draft -
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